Make Dad feel "this cool" on Father's Day. P.S. This is my actual dad circa 1975ish.
My dad, a doctor living in Kansas whose "nerdom" used to be the subject of much laughter and inside fodder between my three brothers and I, is now getting the last laugh. Only recently, as my professional career has me basking in a sea of emerging technology and innovation, have I begun to realize that his nose for trend spotting was, in retrospect, quite unbelievable.
He owned a calculator watch before they were cool, had one of the first portable phones (yes, that's what they were called then) in our city, and even started wearing Crocs about two years before they became mainstream. That last one isn't tech related, it's just a weird-slash-amazing factoid.
His reasons for all of those purchases were entirely practical albeit oracle-like: the watch was used for calculating his marathon training times; the portable phone was purchased so he could watch my brothers' baseball games without having to haul ass to a payphone every time he got a page from the hospital; and the Crocs, well... "they're just so darn comfortable."
When I asked for his take on tech both past and present, here's what he said:
"The iPad is hands-down my favorite current piece of technology, but overall -- the first portable phone, half the size of a briefcase and my first green-screen word processor were the most revolutionary and life-enhancing."
I would argue that most dads, nearly twenty-five years after the green-screen word processor, have shifted into a relatively tech-savvy bunch. So if you're looking for a few great gift ideas for dad that don't involve objects of the ho-hum variety, here are some ideas culled from some of the savviest folks I know.
4 inspirational resources for techy stuff dad will love:
According to my nearest and dearest source for all things trending, Kristen Tischhauser: "My best bet for father's day is always a gadget. This year dad's getting a Sonos Wireless Sound System. The new go-to site for shopping, style and inspiration for the home, Domaine, seems to agree with my choice via its roundup of must-have tech gadgets!"
She also recommends -- to those with younger siblings -- to pull the bossy older sibling card and go half-sies. Dad actually wins here: assuming you don't buy him something lame like a digital picture frame.
The always pragmatic Chathri Ali, who knows her dad's taste as well as she knows tech:
Shopping on e-commerce sites will not work for my dad because he wouldn't dare ship an item back for an exchange. To skip all the fuss, I recommend using the Gyft mobile app to send Dad a mobile gift card for his favorite restaurant or store (Maggiano's, Lowe's, Callaway Golf). It's the perfect solution for a last minute gift or for the father that lives out of state.
Oh Chathri, you're so on top of it! But I won't tell your dad you left his gift buying for last minute. #daughterfail.
3. Grand St.
According to Elliot Tomaeno:
Grand St. is a new marketplace for creative technology and has a ton of awesome gadgets like The ChargeCard, Freedom Hub Burst and Waka Waka Power. They add new products each week that represent the best stuff coming out of the maker movement, open hardware, connected devices and boutique/small batch technologies.
BONUS: Currently, at Grand St. is invite-only, but for HuffPo readers the company is offering a direct link into the platform and $15 credit to spend on the site.
For those who want to leverage technology to discover and purchase gifts of a classic variety, Heather Meeker recommends Father's Day gift ideas from Tapiture. Candles, boxer briefs, poker sets and flasks -- yes flasks -- all in one location, aggregated for your dad's day pleasure.
4 gadgets and accessories they will make his day
1. 30 pin iOS accessory by Belkin
Dad on the go? This mobile TV receiver from Belkin allows your Apple device to receive Dyle mobile TV, a service giving Dad mobile access to live, local TV programming for news, sports and entertainment. Check Dyle's Coverage Map to see if the service is available in your area.
2. ZAGGkeys PROfolio+
Unless your dad is a surgeon or a piano player (meaning, he doesn't have meat hooks for hands) he probably hates using touch screens because of the small buttons. The ZAGG keyboard makes life easier for the Dad who has his iPad duct-taped to his wrist!
3. IronX action cam
For the action adventurer Dad-types, the new IronX action cam, which just launched last week, lets you strap on a waterproof and rugged HD camcorder to your body, helmet, bike, surfboard, etc. to take video or burst or time lapse photos of your activities. One of the coolest features is the ability to live stream your video to smartphones -- so while you're diving or biking your family and friends can get a first-person-view of the action right on their phones.
4. Gumdrop Cases
If Dad is super forward thinking, techie and a little rugged on the side, I would highly recommend Gumdrop Cases to protect his gear. These bad boys will turn his gadgets from boring to booming. The "Drop Tech" Series are darn MANLY, and they also make a "Designer Series" for Dads who prefer a little color. Note: you can leave the pink for Mom's Day. All styles made for iPads, iPhones, Macbooks and a variety of other tablets.
So dad, even though I won't be able to build a technology to enable all electronic medical records to communicate on the same platform for Father's Day per your request, rest assured I will send you something geek-chic.